Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - November 18, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Pruning, Trees
Title: Tree removal from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Unfortunately we need to cut down a Spanish oak (11" diameter, over 50 feet tall) that is leaning against our upper story deck (if it falls, the roof, deck, and steel supports may be crushed). A limb (6 ft. sucker) has grown out at the 8' height -- if the tree is removed above this limb, is there a chance that the tree could survive? If so, how do you make the cut (straight or angle)?

ANSWER:

There are four native oaks with the common name"Spanish Oak" but only one, Quercus buckleyi (Texas red oak), is native to Travis County, so we will use that one as an example

This is a problem which you likely need to address quickly before the worst happens; that is, the tree falling on your deck. This is going to be a complex and difficult chore, best done by professionals. If you attack it on your own, it might be a human body that gets crushed. A tree that big is going to fall where it will. We suggest you go to our National Suppliers Directory. In the Enter Search Area box, put in your town and state or just your zip code and press GO. You will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and consultants in your general area. Under consultants, you will find a number of tree specialists who should have the know-how and equipment that will prevent a disaster. When we searched on Austin, we found one which included "landscape services." You can search for others online, interview each, ask for costs and guarantees and make a good decision.

As for your question about the one branch surviving this radical surgery, we would say no, but that is another question to ask an expert.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

More Planting Questions

Shade tolerant low shrub for Houston
September 28, 2013 - Please suggest a shade loving shrub that doesn't get more than 3' tall for a foundation planting along a front porch in Houston, TX. I prefer native, drought resistant if possible. No nursery person...
view the full question and answer

Schedule for planting perennial wildflowers from Asheville NC
March 22, 2013 - When is the best time to plant perennial wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Wildseed Planting in a drought
September 14, 2011 - Due to the extreme drought and no rain in the near future in central Texas would it be prudent to have a wildseed planting in October?
view the full question and answer

Finding a manzanita species suitable for Fort Worth, TX
April 28, 2015 - Which manzanita shrub would thrive best in the Fort Worth, Tx. area? I was thinking of planting it in a large pot. Thank You!
view the full question and answer

Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
February 07, 2012 - Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process wo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.